Health Care SHOP Enrollment

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The Mississippi Insurance Department decided to establish a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) for Mississippi’s small employers. The health insurance marketplace for small businesses is called One, MississippiTM. The Marketplace is an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand online tool that assists Mississippi’s small business owners interested in providing quality health insurance to their employees. Small businesses should consider using One, MississippiTM because:

  • Offering employees high-quality health insurance is a competitive advantage in the labor market.
  • Providing health insurance to employees helps small businesses recruit and retain the best talent while keeping employees happier, healthier, and, thus, more productive.
  • Through One, MississippiTM, small employers have a variety of tools to help select and administer all of their employees’ health insurance benefits.
  • Small employers can determine the type of coverage offered and control how much they contribute toward employee premiums to fit their budget.

One, MississippiTM simplifies the process of providing private health insurance and is available to small businesses in the State that employ fifty (50) or fewer full-time equivalent employees. The Marketplace is designed to provide a central location where small employers can shop and compare a variety of health insurance plans. Plan comparisons are provided in an easy-to-understand format. An employer may choose one plan for all employees or multiple plans from which each employee may choose the best plan for the individual and his or her family. Health insurance plans offered on One, MississippiTM are classified into one of four metal tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. At each metal level, premiums and cost-sharing requirements for the employee change.

Instead of choosing a plan (or plans) for its employees, One, MississippiTM allows the employer to designate a specific amount to contribute toward each employee’s premium cost. Employees can use that contribution to choose a health insurance plan that best fits their needs and budgets.

Employers that meet certain qualifications may be eligible for a Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credit. The amount of the tax credit and what qualifications the employer must meet depend on which taxable year a small employer claims the credit. Some of the qualifications remain the same regardless of when the tax credit is claimed. These eligibility requirements that small employers must meet are:

  • Employ no more than twenty-five (25) full-time equivalent employees;
  • Pay average annual wages below $50,000; and
  • Pay a uniform percentage for all employees that is equal to at least fifty percent (50%) of the premium cost of individual health insurance for each employee.

Although the tax credit has been available for eligible small employers for taxable years between 2010 and 2013, important changes begin in the taxable year 2014 and beyond, including:

  • The employer’s contribution toward premiums must be made on behalf of each employee enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) offered by the employer through a marketplace;
  • The tax credit amount increases to fifty percent (50%) of premiums paid for eligible small employers and to thirty-five (35%) of employer premiums paid for tax-exempt eligible small employers;
  • The credit can only be claimed for two consecutive tax years; and
  • Cost-of-living adjustments are made to the average annual wage phase-out amounts. (The credit is phased out gradually when average annual wages exceed certain amounts).

A transition policy exists for the 2014 taxable year for eligible small employers that have health plan years that differ from their taxable year. Eligible small employers may take the credit for tax years 2010 through 2013 without those years counting toward the two consecutive taxable year period. Employers should consult their tax advisors for more information.

One, MississippiTM enrollment will begin in 2014. Employers will be able to enroll in the Marketplace online at, or through a licensed insurance agent or broker.

If you would like to be added to our notification list to be informed as progress is made regarding the MS SHOP, please send your name, email, phone number, and business affiliation to